Every year under the heading of the Acorn Awards we recognise people who have shown great commitment and ability in the industry, and evidence of the qualities to make an impact in future.

They're also known as our "30 under 30", and in this, the 22nd year of Acorn nominations, we believe we've found another set of future stars to go with the previous 640.
 
Along with our co-host and sponsor Unilever Foodsolutions, the 2008 selection of 30 dazzling chefs, general managers, those in customer relations and revenue, in restaurants, hotels, pubs and contract catering from across the UK, have already achieved exceptional things. They all perform very different roles in the sector, whether making pastry, managing staff or allocating hotel rooms, but their talent is obvious.

Traditionally, Sunday is for getting to know the other Acorn nominees, and as in previous years it was helped along by a competition from events consultancy Team Spirit.

Previously there have been murder mystery tours or Acorns dressing up as Coronation Street characters. This time Simon Marshall, managing director of Unilever, was locked in a prison cell, having been read his legal rights.
 
The five teams comprising six Acorns each were then entrusted with finding and breaking a code to secure his freedom. Clues and answers to enable this heist were dotted round Oxford, with guest appearances from elaborately clad people from Team Spirit helping out, including a particularly enigmatic Professor Weeto lookalike.

Watch what our Acorns had to say about the awards here

View photographs from the awards here

Watch highlights from the Heist here.

 

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